I’m alive – Beres Hammond

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A long awaited single from the legend that is Beres Hammond, sounding on fine form, and fantastic to see his Harmony House label back in full effect.

Beres Hammond OJ (born Hugh Beresford Hammond, 28 August 1955, Annotto Bay, Saint Mary, Jamaica) is well known for his contribution to lovers rock music having started out in the 1970s. Beres Hammond formed his own record label, Harmony Records, in 1985 for the release of his Make a Song album, which had two Jamaican chart-toppers that were influenced by the emerging dancehall style: “Groovy Little Thing” and “What One Dance Can Do”. The latter, produced by Willie Lindo, began to break Hammond into the international market. Beres Hammond scored another hit in 1986 with “Settling Down” on his eponymous release. He left his fame in Jamaica for New York City in 1987, after being tied up as thieves ransacked his house during a home invasion. There he recorded the Have a Nice Weekend album and the duet single “How Can We Ease the Pain” with Maxi Priest. Hammond returned briefly to Jamaica to record Putting Up Resistance, which was significantly harder than his typical ballads, produced by Tappa Zukie, which spawned the hits “Putting Up Resistance” and “Strange”. He signed with Penthouse Records in 1990 and returned to Jamaica permanently to record the dancehall smash “Tempted to Touch”, with producer Donovan Germain. This is perhaps his best known song in the United States and United Kingdom, and set the foundation for the hits “Is This a Sign” and “Respect to You Baby” on the 1992 Love Affair album.

Also in 1992, Beres released the single “Fire”. The song received critical acclaim within the Reggae music industry and it was an extremely sought after 7″ single. Now garnering interest from major studios such as Elektra Records, Hammond recorded five more albums in the 1990s as well as several compilations, establishing himself as one of the top lovers rock artists. His first album of the new millennium was 2001’s Music Is Life, which featured an appearance by Wyclef Jean, and contributions from Earl “Chinna” Smith and Flourgon. The album spawned several hits, including “They Gonna Talk”, “Rockaway” and “Ain’t It Good To Know”. The 2004 release Love Has No Boundaries, had guest spots by Buju Banton and Big Youth.

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The sound of Reggae is widely recognised because of its acoustically formed bass and drum downbeat, and its offbeat rhythm section. With such a diversity in style it is also considered complex enough to attract progressively minded musicians. A music that has a strong association with dance covering a variety of styles while also offering a background beat for those sharing Biblical chants of Zion. It is hard to ignore Reggae’s influence and how it interacts with our day-to-day lives. Shared as background music for films and advertising driving its heavy bass lines literally felt wherever rock and pop are played. Reggae has an affinity with mainstream British pop; recognised within the hip-hop culture and considered “cool” by those with no connection to Jamaica. As lovers of reggae my aim is to build a community of reggae followers that can share thoughts, news, events as listeners, artists, DJ’s and hosts.